Brewers down Braves in finale
Lee closes monster first half with two more RBIs in win
ATLANTA -- Carlos Lee had a huge first half, and he's sure the Brewers will follow suit in the second.
"We're going to have a really big second half," said Lee, who drove in two more runs Sunday. "I can't see us going anywhere but forward."
Milwaukee's All-Star left fielder set a franchise record with 76 RBIs before the break and Chris Capuano notched his 10th victory in the Brewers' 8-4 win over the Braves on Sunday at Turner Field.
Players scattered for the three-day All-Star break on a high note after finishing a tough road trip through Florida and Atlanta at 4-3, including two straight wins here for just their fourth series win in 15 tries away from Miller Park. It was also manager Ned Yost's first series win over his mentor, Braves manager Bobby Cox, and the Brewers' first series win at Turner Field since 2001.
"Everybody's thinking, 'All-Star break,' but for them to come out, focused and playing hard, I'm proud of them for that," Yost said.
Capuano (10-6) became the first Brewers left-hander to win 10 games before the All-Star break since Teddy Higuera in 1986 and the first Milwaukee starter to win five straight decisions since Ben Sheets won six in a row on the way to the 2001 All-Star Game.
He did not exactly cruise. Capuano surrendered four runs on seven hits in five innings, including home runs by Jeff Francoeur and Rafael Furcal (who finished with five hits), but was picked up by a balanced Brewers offense and some timely defense.
Geoff Jenkins had three RBIs and two hits, including a go-ahead RBI single and a solo home run off former Brewers closer Dan Kolb, Jenkins' first since June 26. Brady Clark topped an outstanding first half with two hits and two runs scored.
But the headliner was Lee. His fifth-inning sacrifice fly tied the game at 4 and gave him 75 RBIs, matching the franchise record for RBIs before the All-Star break set by Greg Vaughn in 1996. Lee's RBI single off Blaine Boyer in the sixth gave him 76 RBIs, tops in the National League and a new Brewers record.
"Couldn't do it without my teammates," said Lee, who traveled with Brewers owner Mark Attanasio to Detroit for the All-Star Game. "They've given me every single opportunity to do it. I got three shots today with people in scoring position, and they've been doing that all year long. That helps a lot, because nobody can do it by themselves."
The defensive highlights came mostly at the expense of Braves rookie third baseman Andy Marte. Before Lee robbed Marte of extra bases with a leaping catch in the eighth inning, center fielder Brady Clark robbed him of a two-run home run in the third.
"It's my job," Clark said. "It's definitely a good feeling."
The Brewers were down, 4-2, going into the fifth, but they took advantage of a Marte error and rallied for three runs off Braves rookie starter Roman Colon (1-5) and reliever John Foster to get back the lead for Capuano going into the bottom of the fifth.
"I told Cappy, 'If we get a chance go give you your win, you've got to go out and battle that fifth. You're on a short leash,'" Yost said.
Capuano got the job done. He retired the leadoff hitter for the first time all day and worked around an error by Brewers third baseman Russell Branyan -- who homered in the second inning -- to qualify for win No. 10.
"I feel like my performance is an afterthought of what everyone else did," said Capuano, who is fighting a cold.
Still, the win marked a milestone.
"This break couldn't have come at a better time," Capuano said. "I'm looking forward to rejuvenating and healing up the body, and getting ready to attack the second half. Getting that 10th win for me was personally rewarding. It gives me a really good feeling going into this break."
Milwaukee finished the first half at 42-46 and will play another tough National League East team after the break, when Washington visits Miller Park for a four-game series. Forty-two of the Brewers' 75 games in the second half are at home, where the team is 23-16 this season.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.